Dr.Rajammal P Devdas Memorial Award

The Rajammal P Devadas Memorial Lecture Award was instituted by the Nutrition Society of India, in association with Avinashilingam Education Trust and Avinashilingam University for Women in the year 2009. Dr. Rajammal P Devadas (lovingly called ‘amma’ by her colleagues and students) had made significant contributions for the cause of Nutrition Science, Home Science and Women’s development in the country. She was the President of the Nutrition Society of India during 1987 to 1991.

Born in Kallikulam in Tirunelvelli District of Tamil Nadu, Dr.Devadas had her early education in Chennai and graduated from Women’s Christian College. She received her Ph.D. degree from Ohio State University, USA, with copious honours in 1950, and her Post Doctoral D.Sc. degree from the University of Madras in 1978. As a leading nutritionist of international reputation, Dr. Devadas, in her various capacities as Principal, Vice Chancellor and Chancellor, had a stupendous academic record throughout. Dr. Devadas held several celebrated positions such as Chief Home Economist and Joint Director (Home Science), Directorate of Extension, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Government of India (1955-1961) and Assistant Director General (Nutrition) ICAR (1975-76). She also served with immense merit as the Regional Vice President – International Federation for Women in Agriculture (IFWA), Regional Coordinator for Research-World Alliance for Breast Feeding and the First Vice President of the World Food Conference convened by the FAO in 1970 in The Hague, Holland, besides holding many other memorable advisory positions in National and International Organizations.

Dr. Devadas’s major scientific contributions in the area of Home Science and Community Nutrition has resulted in various implementable programmes. To name a few, nutrition consultation in the colossal State-wide Nutritious Noon Meal Programme of the Government of Tamil Nadu, organization of training programmes for thousands of workers involved in nutrition intervention programmes, direction of a project in five states to commence Nutrition/Health Education and Environmental Sanitation in primary schools in which 10,000 teachers from five districts of Tamil Nadu were skilled in nutrition. In the academic year 1991-1992, she integrated NSS into the undergraduate curriculum of the Avinashilingam University giving it credits and an academic status. She toiled hard to educate the community on the significance of nutrition by developing educational materials and conducting research and community outreach programmes. She was the chief editor of the Indian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, Research Highlights and the Tamil Science monthly VignanaChudar. She has left behind to her credit over 500 research papers and 57 books. She represented India in more than 50 International Nutrition/Home Science Conferences in about 40 countries.

She received many awards from various national and international organizations for her commendable and priceless service in different fields including the Tagore Literacy award (1991), Padma Shri from Government of India (1992) and Dr. B.C.Guha memorial award (1993). She was awarded the Honorary Degree of Humane Letters from Oregon State University (1993) and Ohio State University (1994), Honorary D.Sc. from Chandrasekar Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur (1994), Honorary Degree of D.Sc. from University of Ulster, Northern Ireland (1996), G.D. Birla award (1998), the Malcolm S. Adiseshiah award (2000) and the prestigious International Union of Nutrition Sciences (IUNS) award in 2001 at Vienna, Austria.

The phenomenal growth of the Avinashilingam Institutions to the present heights is only due to the consistent and unstinted efforts of Dr. Devadas. Sri Avinashilingam Home Science College for Women was established in 1957, the Home Science College acquired the Deemed University status in 1988 with Dr.Rajammal P. Devadas as its first Vice Chancellor.

The NSI calls for ‘NOMINATIONS’ for Dr.Rajammal P. Devadas Memorial Award Lecture to be delivered during the Annual National Conferences of the NSI every year in the month of April.

The following are the criteria for nomination:

  • Should be an outstanding woman nutrition scientist of Indian origin working in India as evidenced by scientific contribution and work.
  • Should have worked in the area of applied nutritional sciences.
  • Should have contributed substantially for Nutritional Sciences in the above area as evidenced by peer reviewed publications, projects handled and high academic pursuit.


Year Name Title of the talk
2010 Dr.Mahtab S Bamji Striving for village-level nutrition security – Challenges and opportunities
2011 Dr. Rita S Raghuvanshi Reorganizing Nutrition for a Better Tomorrow
2012 Prof. (Mrs.) Vijayakhader Impact of Economic Empowerment of Women on Health Security – Lessons from Studies in Andhra Pradesh; Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Kenya.
2013 Prof. Jamuna Prakash Exploring Food Based Approaches for Translational Nutrition : From Research to Practice
2014 Prof. G. Subbulakshmi Farm Foods and Pharm Foods
2015 Prof. Satyavati Rana Nutrition and Disease – An Interaction
2016 Dr R. Hemalatha Mother and Child Nutrition- Life Cycle Approach
2017 Dr.Asna Urooj Translational nutrition research for sustainable dietary management of diabetes mellitus
2018 Dr.Sadhana Ramchandra Joshi Maternal Nutrition and Placental Programming: Implications for Long Term Health
2019 Dr. S. Kowsalya NeutralceuticalPotencials of Functional Foods
2020 Dr Seema Puri Mainstreaming nutrition from pre-conception to old age: the life course approach
2021 Dr. Bharati Kulkarni Iron nutrition and anemia in India: some insights from recent research